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Fatma Aliye Hanım (Topuz)

Fatma Aliye Hanım (Topuz)

First muslim professional novelist of the Ottoman Empire
"I had a separate room as well as a desk, even a bookcase."

Date of Birth: 22/10/1862 1862

Place of Birth: Istanbul

Date of Death: 13/07/1936 1936

Place of Death: Istanbul

Burial Site: Feriköy Cemetery, Istanbul



Fatma Aliye Hanım (Topuz) Fatma Aliye Hanım (Topuz)

Field of Activity

"That night, for the first time, Fazıla went to bed without waiting for her husband and slept. In fact she slept very well. Though she heard through her light sleep when Remzi came, she behaved as if she had not heard and did not get up. From the next day onwards she started to be interested in her books and her piano and to meet and chat with the friends she had neglected since becoming a married woman. She was not getting bored; on the contrary was having a wonderful time."
(Muhadarat, 1892, neu ed., İstanbul, 2005, p.196)
"Şebib changed his behaviour towards Fazıla after having paid to his mother money for her. But Fazıla did not change her behaviour towards him at all. Şebib saw that his maid did not understand his meaningful advances and was not to be joked with either. Now he told her that if she felt shy because of his mother, she would not say anything because he had paid his mother for her already and she was no longer her maid."
Fazıla said to Şebib:
Fazıla said to Şebib: - It does not make any difference whether I am your maid or your mother's maid if I am a servant. I accept either of you as master or mistress but if you bought me for other purposes, did you ask me before buying me? And did you suggest a condition of this sort? Şebib was at a loss. Fazıla had beaten him with her words as well. Şebib knew, too, that it is the custom to ask a maid who is being bought as a concubine whether she wanted him or not. Şebib was crushed by Fazıla's words.
(Muhadarat,1892, neu ed., İstanbul, 2005, p. 317)

Fatma Aliye's first novel was "Hayal ve Hakikat" (Dream and Reality) which was written 1891. For this novel she worked with the novelist Ahmed Mithat Efendi. The parts about the central female figure were written by Fatma Aliye Hanım, and the parts about the central male figure by Ahmed Mithat Efendi. The novel was published under the names "Bir Kadın (A Woman) and Ahmet Mithat".

"Muhadarat" is the first novel Fatma Aliye published under her own name, in 1892. In this novel she developed a thesis against the assumption that a woman can not forget her first love.

The works of Fatma Aliye were listed in the "World Woman Library Catalogue", prepared in Chicago in 1893.

Fatma Aliye as Translator

Fatma Aliye learned French during her studies. Her first translation fom French was "Volente", a novel written by George Ohnet in 1888. She translated it under the title "Meram". From then on she used the pseudonym "Mütercime-i Meram" (Translator of Meram) for all her translations.

Fatma Aliye as Columnist

Fatma Aliye Hanım mainly published articles in the women's magazine "Hanımlara Mahsus Gazete" (Newspaper for Women) but also in newspapers and magazines such as İnkilab, Mahasin, Malumat, Servet-i Fünun, Tercüman-ı Hakikat, and Ümmet.

„(…) Daughters should be educated to become mothers who can be like primary school teachers to their sons. And when the sons become teenagers and go on to higher education, they should not regard their mother at home as a stranger of whom they do not approve. If this were the case they would not grow up to think of women as worthless.(…)
No matter how much the woman tries to give her children a good upbringing and no matter how well she fills the role of a primary school teacher, a father who is not a good example to his children exerts a very strong influence on the children's general education as well on their future behaviour and actions. The education received within the family is so effective that school and studies cannott easily erase it. The husband's behaviour towards his wife will be an example to the son who will one day become a husband himself ."
Documents of Fatma Aliye (Fatma Aliye Hanım Evrakı) in Atatürk Kitaplığı (Atatürk Library), document number 9/1)
"(....) I am not writing these lines in order to defend women. For in matters of humanity, there is no difference between women and men. We are all human beings."
Fatma Aliye, Çok Eşlilik Taaddüd-i Zevcat, (Polygamy), Ankara, 2007, new edition, p. 66.
Publications of Fatma Aliye
  • Year Title
  • 1891 Hayal ve Hakikat (Dream and Reality, co-author with Ahmed Mithad Efendi, novel), İstanbul, Tercüman-ı Hakikat Matbaası
  • 1892 Muhadarat (novel)
  • 1892 Nisvan-ı İslâm (Women in Muslim World, also translated into French and Arabic)
  • 1896 Ref'et (novel)
  • 1898 Levayih-i Hayat (Scenes of Life, essays)
  • 1898 Udi (novel, translated into French)
  • 1899 Taaddut-u Zevcat (Polygamy, essays), Konstantiniyye, Tahir Bey Matbaası
  • 1899 Taaddut-u Zevcât için Zeyl (additional chapter for the book "Polygamy"), Konstantiniyye, Tahir Bey Matbaası
  • 1900 Terâcim-i Ahvâl-i Felâsife (Biographies of Philosophers)
  • 1900 İstila-i İslam (History), İstanbul, Tahir Bey Matbaası
  • 1901 Nâmdârân-ı Zenân-ı İslâmiyân (Famous Women of the Islamic World )
  • 1901 Tedkîk-i Ecsâm (Looking at the Human Body)
  • 1910 Enin (novel)
  • 1913 Kosova Zaferi / Ankara Hezimeti: Tarih-i Osmaninin Bir Devre-i Mühimmesi (Kosovo Victory / Ankara Defeat: an Important Historical Period in Ottoman History)
  • 1913 Ahmed Cevdet Paşa ve Zamanı, Desaadet (Cevdet Paşa and His Time), Kanaat Matbaası


(No information available)


Fatma Aliye Hanım was the first female member of Hilal-i Ahmer Cemiyeti (Red Crescent Society).


(No information available)

Contributions to Society

1897 Founder of the Society for supporting Ottoman Women (Nisvan-ı Osmaniye İmdat Cemiyeti)

Family and Friends

  • Mother: Adviye Hanım
  • Father: Ahmet Cevdet Paşa (historian, lawyer)
  • Sister: Emine Seniye Hanım (writer, novelist, school-inspector for girls, writer for the women's magazine Hanımlara Mahsus Gazete (Newspaper for Ladies), writer of a book on mathematics, founder of societies for supporting women, teacher, active member of the political parties İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti (Commitee for Union and Development) and Osmanlı Demokrat Fırkası (Ottoman Democrat Party)
  • Brother: Ali Sedat Bey (philosopher)
  • Daughters: Hatice, Ayşe, İsmet, Nimet
  • Marriage: Kolağası Faik Bey (officer)
  • Granddaughter: Suna Selen (theatre and film actress)
  • Friends: Nigar Hanım (woman poet), Makbule Hanım (woman poet), Fahrünnisa Hanım (woman poet), Muallim Naci (writer of a dictionary), Ahmet Midhat Efendi (writer, newspaper owner), Pierre Loti (novelist), Emile Julliard (writer).

Commemorative Projects

Street Name

Two streets have been named after Fatma Aliye, one in Beyoğlu (İstanbul) and the other in Çankaya (Ankara).

50 TL Banknote

In 2009 the Central Bank of Turkey used a portrait of Fatma Aliye Hanım together with images of inkwell, feather pen, paper and book, for the reverse side of the 50 TL bank-notes of the 9th issue (E 9 series).

The Exhibition of Dream and Reality

The İstanbul Modern museum organised an exhibition between 16 September 2011 and 22 January 2012, which was named after Fatma Aliye Hanım's first novel "Hayal ve Hakikat" (Dream and Reality), planned jointly by Fatmagül Berktay, Zeynep İnankur, Burcu Pehlivanoğlu and Levent Çalıkoğlu. The exhibition consisted of the works of 72 Turkish women artists from different generations, showing how they transformed their dreams into reality.

Publication of Collected Works of Fatma Aliye Hanım

Fatma Aliye Hanım, Çok Eşlilik, Taaddüd-i Zevcat (Polygami), Ankara, 2007

Fatma Aliye was an intellectual who did not accept polygamy. In various different magazines she started the first discussions against polygamy with the famous lawyer Mahmud Esad Efendi, who was a supporter of the idea of polygamy. In 2007 all these articles were published in a separate new edition.

Further Reading

Tamara Pekala, "Hayattan Sahneler",, 10.3.2014. (10.3.2014)

Fatma Aliye, Hayattan Sahneler, (Levayih-i Hayat), çev; Tülay Gençtürk Demircioğlu 2002, Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Yayınevi 2013.

Şahika  Karaca,  Fatma Aliye Hanımın Türk Kadın Haklarının düşünsel temellerine katkıları, Karadeniz Araştırmaları, Güz 2011, Sayı 31, pp. 93-110.

Firdevs Canbaz Yumuşak, Fatma Aliye Hanım`ın Feminizm ile ilişkisi, Zaman, 12. Ekim 2008, (8.1.2012).

Fatma Karabıyık Barbarosoğlu, Fatma Aliye: Uzak Ülke, İstanbul, 2007.

Firdevs Canbaz, Fatma Aliye Hanımın Romanlarında Kadın Sorunu, Bilkent Üniversitesi Türk Edebiyatı Bölümü, Ankara, 2005,, (8.1.2012).

Tamer Kütükçü, Fatma Aliyenin Udisinde Kadın ve Müziğin Modernizasyonu, Varlık, Ekim 2004, pp. 36-42.

Ogün Kırtıl, "Fatma Aliye ve Muhâdarâtı", Kadın Araştırmaları Dergisi,8, 2003, pp.101-26.

Mediha Göbenli, "Fatma Aliye Hanım ve Şair Fıtnat Hanım. Tarih ve Toplum, 203, November 2000, pp. 35-40.

Fatma Aliye, Hayattan Sahneler (Levâyih-i Hayât). Ed. Tülay Gençtürk Demircioğlu, İstanbul, 2002.

Ahmet Mithat, Fatma Aliye, Hayâl ve Hakikat, İstanbul, 2002, new ed.

Bahriye Çeri. Bir Kadın ve Ahmet Mithat Efendi. Tarih ve Toplum, 203,  November 2000, pp. 29-34.

Ahmet Mithat Efendi, Fatma Aliye Hanım yahut Bir Muharrire-i Osmaniyenin Neşeti, Translated Lynda Goodsell Blake, (ed.) Müge Galin, İstanbul, 1998.

Mübeccel Kızıltan, "Gizli Bir Öykünün Peşinde", Toplumsal Tarih 3, No.16, 1998, p. 21.

Yaprak Zihnioğlu, 'Erken Dönem Osmanlı Hareket-I Nisvanının iki büyük düşünürü Fatma Aliye ve Emine Seniye', Tarih ve Toplum 31, no. 186, 1999, p. 336-43.

Bürkem Cevher, "Mübeccel Kızıltan ile Fatma Aliye Hanım üzerine….", Boğaziçi Dergisi, Autumn 1994, pp. 64-66.

Ahmet Mithat Efendi, Fatma Aliye Bir Osmanlı Kadın Yazarın Doğuşu, (ed.) Bedia Ermat, İstanbul, 1994.

Mübeccel Kızıltan; Tülay Gençtürk, Atatürk Kitaplığı Fatma Aliye Hanım Evrakı Kataloğu I, İstanbul,  İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi Kültür İşleri Başkanlığı, 1993.

Emel Aşa, Fatma Aliye Hanım, Hayatı, Sanatı, Eserleri, Fikirleri, Yayımlanmamış doktora tezi,  İstanbul Üniversitesi, 1993.

Mübeccel Kızıltan, Fatma Aliye Hanım Yaşamı-Sanatı-Yapıtları ve Nisvan-ı İslam, İstanbul, 1993.

Emel Aşa, Fatma Aliye Hanım, İstanbul Üniversitesi, 1992.

Behçet Necatigil, "1892de Çıkan Muhâdarâtı Batıda da Tanınan İlk Kadın Romancımız: Fatma Aliye Hanım", Milliyet Sanat Dergisi, 240, 13.07.1977, pp. 13-15, 33.

Ahmet Mithat Efendi, Bir Muharrire-i Osmaniyenin Neşeti ( Birth of an Ottoman Female Writer), İstanbul, 1883 (This book, which bears a dedication from Ahmet Mithat Efendi "I am presenting you to yourself" to Fatma Aliye, consists of the articles written by him about Fatma Aliye and Fatma Aliye's letters to him).


Quoted Sources
  • See section "References"
  • Fatma Aliye, Mahmud Esad, Çok Eşlilik Taaddüd-I Zevcat, 1899, neu ed., Ankara, 2007, p. 66.
  • Documents of Fatma Aliye (Fatma Aliye Hanım Evrakı) in Atatürk Kitaplığı (Atatürk Library), document number 9/1, Istanbul.
  • Muhadarat, 1892, neu ed., Istanbul, 2005.
Source of Visual Images

Translation into English: Çetin Alanya, Istanbul, Turkey
Editing: Lyndall von Dewitz, Oberasbach, Bavaria, Germany

©2012 Meral Akkent
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